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Kelly Verel

Co-Executive Director

Kelly is the Co-Executive Director of Project for Public Spaces overseeing the Market Cities Program, events and educational offerings, and general operations and finance.

Since joining the organization in 2006, Kelly has worked extensively with all of the programs and departments within the organization. In 2020, she joined the organization’s executive leadership team and where she oversaw the launch of the Market Cities Program, including pilot projects in Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Toronto

Prior to her current role, Kelly was the project manager and later director for all projects related to the planning, design, and development of public markets, as well as the popular How to Create Successful Markets training and the last four International Public Markets Conferences (2009, 2012, 2015, 2019). From 2006 to 2008, she provided technical assistance to farmers markets seeking to diversify their vendors and customers with support from the W. K. Kellogg and Ford Foundations, and from 2008-2010, she supported Columbia University in developing a study on farmers markets as a means to improve access to healthy food for low-income communities. She has also consulted on the creation, expansion, and renovation of markets throughout North America, including the Granville Island Public Market, Madison Public Market, NewBo City Market, and the Boston Public Market

Beyond the Market Cities Program, Kelly has managed placemaking projects in a variety of settings from city parks to main streets to federal plazas. Two recent projects include the revitalization of Salisbury Beach Center in Salisbury, Massachusetts, and an ongoing placemaking initiative in Springfield, Massachusetts in partnership with The LiveMutual Project.

Prior to working at Project for Public Spaces, she was on the administrative team at GrowNYC Greenmarkets, one of the country’s largest farmers market networks, where she handled media relations, in-market events and promotions, assisted in market assignments, and worked with local community organizations to benefit over 40 New York City farmers markets. Since 2008, she has been a member of GrowNYC Greenmarkets’ Farmer and Community Advisory Committee, providing guidance to the market’s staff on rules and regulations, food sovereignty and equity issues, and promotions. Kelly started her career as an apprentice farmer and sold produce at a semiweekly farmers market in Boston, MA.

In 2019-2020, Kelly was a cohort member of Coro, a civic leadership training organization with a mission to develop New York City leaders so that all individuals, communities, and institutions participate in creating an equitable, just, and engaged society.


M.Sc. Communication Studies, Boston University, 2002

B.A. Religious Studies, College of the Holy Cross, 1997